How to Get the Most Out of Siri on iPhone

iPhone on table showing Hello

Anyone with an iPhone has likely used Siri, but you might not have experienced everything the assistant can do. From different commands to tweaking Siri’s options, it’s worth knowing how to integrate Siri into your workflow.

Below is an overview of how to tweak Siri’s options and what you can ask the virtual assistant.

Configure Siri’s Options

Siri offers a handful of settings that let it behave however works best for you. To access them, go to Settings > Siri & Search.

Let’s look at the items on this page:

  • Enable Listen for “Hey Siri” to summon Siri with your voice. This is handy if you want to set timers, send texts, or similar while your hands are dirty or otherwise occupied.
  • If you frequently summon Siri by mistake, disable Press Side Button for Siri. The assistant will only work via voice if you do this, per the above option.
  • If you don’t want other people to use Siri when your device is locked, disable Allow Siri When Locked. You’ll have to scan your face or fingerprint, or enter your PIN, to enable Siri in this case.
  • Siri has a number of accents and voices to choose from in the Siri Voice section. In English, you can choose from American, Australian, British, and other dialects. Each of them offers at least two voices: one male and one female.
  • If you don’t want Siri to speak in response to your questions, check the options under Siri Responses. These let you silence Siri’s answers if you have your phone in silent mode, or only play audible responses when summoning SIri via voice. You can also enable captions to see what Siri or you have said.
  • Choose an option under Announce Calls and Siri will tell you the name of an incoming caller, which is handy to help you decide if you want to answer. You can also have Siri Announce Notifications, though that comes with more privacy risks.
  • Under My Information, you can select your own contact entry on your phone. Siri will use this to understand any information you have saved there, like your work address.

Ways to Use Siri

Like Spotlight search on your iPhone, Siri can do a lot more than you might think. Here are example commands to try that illustrate the options Siri offers:

  • Set an alarm for 8AM.
  • How’s the weather look today?
  • What’s 23 percent of 673?
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • Call Linda Thomas.
  • How old is Bill Gates?
  • Text Jake Adams that I’ll be there in 15 minutes.
  • How do you say “I’m hungry” in German?

  • Create a meeting with Mike Smith at 10AM tomorrow.
  • Add paper towels to my shopping list.
  • Play my Instrumental Focus playlist.
  • Navigate to Home Depot.
  • How are the Penguins doing?
  • Do I have any new emails?
  • Turn on my flashlight.
  • Flip a coin.
  • Turn on the kitchen lights (if you use Apple HomeKit products).
  • What can I ask you?

Depending on what you ask, Siri might present you with information, show you a toggle, or present a link. These are all interactive, allowing you to change options or open web links if you like.

To ask Siri another question after a prior command, say “Hey Siri” again or tap the Siri logo on your screen. If you don’t want Siri to respond to voice prompts, turn your iPhone face-down.

If you ever ask something that Siri can’t help with, it will either tell you it doesn’t understand or show results from the web. If Siri doesn’t understand, try rewording the question or spelling any names out.

Master Siri for the Greatest Convenience

After configuring Siri to work in a way that works best for you, the best way to use the assistant is to ask it anything that comes to mind.

Much of the time, it’s more convenient to have Siri perform menial tasks (like creating calendar events or changing settings) than it is to tap through a bunch of menus to do them on your own. The worst that can happen is that Siri will default to showing you a web link, though the feature is getting better all the time so you shouldn’t see this default response as often.

If you have a newer car, you can put Siri to use with Apple CarPlay in your vehicle.

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